The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management – A Book Review
The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management (Fourth Edition) is a comprehensive book that aims to help project professionals deliver on time and on budget. It does so by giving a step-by-step advice on how to find the right project sponsor, know the key stakeholders and win their cooperation, set realistic schedules, and build a detailed budget estimate. The latest edition also covers new topics including software projects and agile techniques.
This paperback book is about 6” wide, 9” tall, and 1-1/2” thick. It has 544 pages and was published on December 6, 2011. The cover states that it is an international bestseller and has free downloadable forms such as stakeholder analysis, project charter, and statement of work from the Versatile Company website. The book also includes PMP certification study tips in the form of prep questions at the end of most chapters.
ISBN-10: 1118073770; ISBN-13: 978-1118073773
This Project Management book of the Fast Forward MBA series is highly recommended for students and beginners because it has one of the most comprehensive introductions about the subject. In the first part of the book, it devotes a couple of chapters in discussing PM foundation principles and how it is now the key to a thriving career in a project-driven world. It is also an essential book for experienced professionals who are managing and coordinating several projects at the same time. It has a chapter about project stakeholder management, now the tenth knowledge area, and several chapters in how to advance one’s PM career, including project portfolio management.
What Customers Say
A Goodread user described it as a “very good read to get a view of what project management is really about”. Another found the examples and the templates very helpful, especially when combined with the PMBOK.
Robin Nicklas (Amazon) who bought the first edition after hearing the author speak in a local PMI chapter states that each new edition “brings new discussions of real-world projects and best practices”. He has advised many others to follow the book’s Planning Model detailed in the Appendix that can also serve as a checklist.
Demetrios Minos (Barnes and Noble) who gave the book a 5-star rating describes it as an excellent desk reference that serves multiple purposes. Aside from being an excellent reference for new and experienced PMs and an excellent introductory manual to those new to the field, he also calls it as a great “team building tool allowing PMOs to provide a common knowledge base to their organization”.
Content, Approach, Style
The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management covers a broad area of topics divided in five parts: introducing PM, defining the project, planning it and the processes involved, controlling the project, and advancing the practice. Each part is divided by chapters that discuss, among others, project leadership, stakeholder management, risk management, realistic scheduling, accurate estimating and team building. This fourth edition also has discussions on agile software development and strategic project selection from contributing authors.
Although it is more than 500 pages, users found it easy to read in plain layman’s language. The real-world examples, the templates, and PMP prep questions also contribute to the practical value a reader gets.
Why Buy the Book
This PM book is a great desk reference for all types of PM professionals, so it will prove valuable even if one accumulates field experience. The book has an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow format, covering most processes, domains, and knowledge areas. It is comprehensive such that it does not focus on hard skills only but also covers soft skills such as communication, leadership, and team work. It is relevant with its real-world examples, functional with its templates and forms, updated with discussion on agile approach to IT projects, and practical with MS Project user tips.
Books that Complement
The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management seemed a natural companion to the PMBOK Guide for many readers. The Guide can provide further in-depth discussion on the topics discussed and provide answers to the PMP prep questions found in the end of the MBA book’s chapters.
Terry Schmidt, PMP, contributed a section on strategic project selection and prioritization in this book. Project managers who would like to read further about practical PM tools for leaders and teams will find his book Strategic Project Management a great companion to this particular Fast Forward PM book.
Eric Verzuh founded the Seattle-based Versatile Company in 1990 to provide project management training and consulting services with the aim of improving their clients’ project results. Their clients include Adobe, GE, and Lockheed Martin. He is recognized as an authority on practical project leadership, and as President of Versatile, his company promotes the practices and principles described in his bestselling book and in getting the most out of using Microsoft Project.